FEI Issues Clarification on Hendra Virus Vaccination

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 18:25
Hendra vaccine Equivac HeV :: Photo © Dr Jamie Wearn

Following confusion and upset in Australia about a potential compulsory Hendra vaccination of Australian based horses at FEI events, the FEI has issued a  clarification on its position on Hendra vaccination. 

Members of the Australian equestrian Federation (EA) accused EA of secretly pushing through a mandatory Hendra vaccination via the 2019 FEI General Assembly scheduled for next week in Moscow. 

The FEI now issued a statement on 6 November that the proposal to look into the matter of Hendra Vaccination came from the FEI and not Equestrian Australia. 

FEI Clarification on Hendra virus

Lausanne 6 November 2019

Further to the FEI Veterinary Committee Report, published on the FEI website under point 27.1 on the FEI General Assembly documentation, which stated the Veterinary Committee would decide whether to propose that horses from Hendra virus affected areas must be vaccinated against the disease in order to attend FEI Events: The FEI Veterinary Committee has now met and discussed Hendra virus at its in-person meeting in Lausanne (SUI) today, and agreed unanimously that there will be no proposal to impose the Hendra vaccination. 

The FEI Veterinary Committee discussions were triggered initially by an incident at an FEI Endurance event in Australia earlier this year. The FEI Veterinary Department is continuing to look into the circumstances surrounding this incident in order to ensure that fundamental requirements of the FEI Regulations can be met at FEI events. 

As part of this review, the National Head Veterinarian was asked to share official Australian Government documentation and the Summary of adverse experience report made to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) about Hendra virus vaccine with the FEI Veterinary Department, which was done. 

It is important to note that at no point did the National Head Veterinarian recommend mandatory Hendra vaccination to the FEI Veterinary Committee or the FEI Veterinary Department. For the avoidance of any doubt, the FEI Veterinary Department was not in contact with the office of Equestrian Australia on the matter until 1 November 2019 following the statement published by the Chair of the National Federation. 

The Veterinary Department, together with the FEI Veterinary Committee, is fully committed to engaging with Equestrian Australia imminently on how to address concerns regarding the Hendra virus. As soon as the review process is completed, Equestrian Australia will be given the opportunity to provide submissions on this issue. No decision will be made without full consultation with National Federations, including Equestrian Australia.

The FEI is aware of social media posts regarding individuals involved in this, but while everyone has aright to voice their opinion and we are aware of the sensitivities of this topic, we do not condone harassment of any sort and we ask people to be respectful when posting on this issue.

EA Board Responds to FEI Clarification

The Board is pleased that the FEI has recognised the importance of this issue to EA and its members and responded quickly to the expression of concern.

It is also gratifying that FEI acknowledges that prior to November 1 there has been no consultation with EA on this issue and that there is an opportunity to provide submissions in support of EA’s position that there should be no mandatory vaccination.

EA will be undertaking an engagement process with members, owners, and other experts, seeking cooperation and assistance from all our community to ensure the highest quality submission, outlining our collective position, is made to FEI.

Related Links
Possible Compulsory Hendra Vaccination Through FEI Regulation Causes Uproar in Australia
Equestrian Australia and Zoetis End Partnership After Member Complaint
Warwick Vale Resigns as Chair of Equestrian Australia Board
Hendra: The Virus, The Vaccine, The Debate